Aldara 5% Cream

  • Used to treat Genital Warts
  • Helps to kill the cells within warts preventing it from spreading
  • Typically clears genital warts in 8 weeks
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What is Aldara?

Aldara is a cream for both men and women. Aldara is the brand name for imiquimod, which is the active ingredient contained in the cream. It is an immune response modifier.

You can buy Aldara (imiquimod) online when you have a prescription from a doctor. Order Aldara online at Medicine Direct after an online consultation with one of our certified doctors; if you order before 2pm, we can offer you next day delivery on your medicine.

What is Aldara used to treat?

Aldara cream is commonly used in the treatment of genital warts.

Genital warts are small growths and bumps around your genitals or anus. They are quite a common and mostly harmless STD or viral infection created by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

How does Aldara work?

Aldara cream is an immune response modifier, which works to eliminate the virus by helping the body to create defence mechanisms of its own. This helps your body to fight the virus by itself, by producing cytokines which prevent the virus's cells from multiplying and spreading the infection.

Thanks to the imiquimod contained in the cream, your immune system will release chemicals that can kill the virus; this should help to eradicate your genital warts and reduce the likeliness of them returning in the future.

Who can use Aldara?

Aldara is a highly effective treatment for genital warts, but it is not suitable for everyone to use.

You should inform your doctor if one or more of the below conditions apply to you:

  • You are HIV positive
  • You are currently being treated for basal cell carcinoma or keratosis

This cream is only suitable to be used by adults; it should not be given to children or adolescents.

Tell your doctor if you are currently taking any other medication before you start to use Aldara cream. For a full list of medicines that may interact with Aldara, please refer to the Warnings and Drug Interactions tab on this page.

Make sure you read the patient information leaflet for full information on who this treatment is not suitable for.

Possible side effects

As with all medications, Aldara does come with the risk of certain side effects, although not everyone will suffer from them.

Some side effects will only last for a short time. Below is a list of very common reactions that will normally stop about 2 weeks after you have completed your treatment:

  • Wearing away of the skin
  • Flakiness or swelling
  • Hardening of the skin
  • Small open sores (a crust may form during healing, as may small bubbles under the skin)
  • Itching or a burning sensation
  • Pain in the applied areas

Speak to your doctor if you become worried or any of these symptoms do not go away.

This list is not exhaustive. For rarer reactions, please refer to the Side Effects tab on this page.

Always read the patient information leaflet for a full list of possible reactions and medical advice on how to cope with them.

Aldara Dosage

Our prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Aldara Cream.

You should apply Aldara cream three times a week, for example on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Always read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before using any medication. Always use Aldara exactly as instructed by your doctor.

One sachet contains enough cream to treat a wart area of 20cm.

Do not cover the affected area with any bandages or dressing after you have applied the treatment.

Do not save opened sachets for a later application; you should always open a brand new sachet when using Aldara. Do not apply the cream internally, it is for external use only.

Speak to your doctor if you are unsure of anything.

How to apply Aldara cream

  1. Before you go to bed, wash your hands and the affected area with mild soap and water.
  2. Dry your hands and the area thoroughly.
  3. Open a new sachet and squeeze some of the cream onto your fingertip.
  4. Apply a thin layer of the cream to the wart area. Rub it gently into the skin until the cream has been absorbed.
  5. After application, throw the sachet away and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  6. Aldara cream should be left on the skin overnight. Do not shower or wash the area again for at least 6 hours; this will give the treatment time to properly absorb.
  7. After 6 to 10 hours, wash the affected area with gentle soap and water.

If you are a man with genital warts under the foreskin, you should pull the foreskin back and wash it each day.

How long will I need to use it for?

Most women who use Aldara cream for genital warts will find that their condition will clear up in around 8 weeks. For men, it may take around 10 to 12 weeks.

You should not use Aldara for longer than 16 weeks. If your genital warts have not cleared by this time, go back to your doctor.

What if I use more than I am supposed to?

If you accidentally apply more Aldara cream than you are supposed to, wash away any extra with mild soap and water. When any skin reaction has subsided, you can continue with your treatment as normal.

If you ingest any of the treatment, you should contact your doctor.

What if I forget to apply it?

If you miss a dose, apply the cream as soon as you remember and then continue to apply it as normal.

Do not apply Aldara more than once a day.

To effectively treat genital warts, it is important you remember to be consistent with your application of the cream.

Aldara FAQ's

How long do genital warts last for?

This will depend on how long it is before you get them treated. Untreated, genital warts can survive for up to two years before they clear on their own. When using a treatment like Aldara, they can clear as quickly as 4 weeks after starting the medication. HPV will always be in your system, remaining dormant. Clearing a single outbreak of genital warts will not remove the risk of another case occurring at another time. However, applying Aldara does make the risk of further outbreaks much less likely.

Are genital warts serious?

Genital warts can often be very unsightly, but they are not a very serious condition. HPV is a common infection that can be treated.

How do I buy Aldara online?

You can buy Aldara online when you have a prescription from a doctor. Order online from Medicine Direct and one of our certified doctors will prescribe you this treatment if they deem it appropriate for your condition. If you order with us before 2pm, we can offer you next day delivery on your medicine. Aside from being able to offer a speedy delivery, Medicine Direct is also registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC), meaning we offer nothing but genuine medicines.

How does Aldara work to treat HPV?

Aldara is an immune response modifier, which helps the body to create its own defence mechanism against HPV. This removes warts over time and also helps to reduce the risk of a repeated attack.

How quickly will it remove the warts?

For women, using Aldara can remove genital warts after about 8 weeks. For men, it may take a little longer, usually taking between 8 and 10 weeks to clear up your condition. Do not use Aldara cream for longer than 16 weeks.

What's the difference between Aldara and other genital wart treatments?

There are several other treatments out there which are used to treat genital warts. Aldara's main difference is the application pattern; this cream should be applied once a day, three times a week, such as on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In contrast, Warticon is applied twice a day for 3 consecutive days, before you should take a break of 4 days before applying it again. The mechanism of action is also different in Aldara. The likes of Warticon act to damage the wart tissue, which makes it disappear slowly. These medications may get red of genital warts faster, but they have a higher recurrence rate. Aldara helps to stimulate your immune system, making it easier for your body to fight off the virus and reduce the likeliness of the warts returning at a later date. Aldara is also the only treatment that is licensed to treat anal warts.

Can you apply Aldara to warts located inside the body?

No, Aldara is for external use only. You should speak to your doctor if you have any genital warts located inside the anus, penis or vagina; this treatment is not suitable to treat them.

Can you treat warts on the penis with Aldara?

You can use this treatment for external warts on the penis. Any warts inside the penis cannot be treated with this cream, as it may lead to scarring. If you do have warts inside the penis, you should speak to your doctor about the most appropriate treatment. Warts under the foreskin can also be treated using Aldara, but you must make sure you peel back the foreskin and clean the area each day; failure to do so may result in the area becoming swollen or tight. It may become difficult to peel back the foreskin – if this happens you should speak to your doctor immediately.

Can you have sex while undergoing this treatment??

Genital warts are highly contagious and can be passed on to your sexual partner even when you wear a condom. The friction which occurs during sex can also cause irritation. It is not advised you have sex while being treated for genital warts. Aldara can also weaken condoms, so if you do have sex you should apply Aldara after sexual activity, when you have thoroughly cleaned the affected area.

After treatment, what is the likelihood it will reoccur?

This medication helps to boost your immune system against HPV, so warts are less likely to return after treatment. They can reoccur after the first 3 months of treatment; return to your doctor if this happens.

Can Aldara trigger herpes?

No, it does not trigger herpes, but it can cause irritation and soreness that is similar to herpes symptoms.

Does it cause diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is an adverse effect associated with this immune response modifier, although very few people will experience it.

Why does it cause flu-like symptoms?

As an immune response modifier, it can interfere with how your immune system normally works, which can sometimes result in flu-like symptoms, including tiredness and fever. These symptoms should cease when you complete treatment.

Can Aldara cream cause blisters?

You may find you get small blisters or ulcers while using the cream. If these become severe, you should speak to your doctor.

Aldara Side Effects

More common adverse effects of this medication can be found on the main page.

Other side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, joint or muscle pain)
  • Pain during intercourse for females
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Feeling sick
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Pins and needles
  • Migraines
  • Swollen glands
  • Bacterial, viral of fungal infection
  • Vaginal infections including thrush
  • Coughs, colds and a sore throat
  • Ringing of the ears
  • Stomach and bowel problems
  • Increase in sweating

In rare cases, you may experience the following:

  • Painful skin reactions at the opening of the vagina, making it difficult to urinate

If you experience any of these, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

This list is not exhaustive, always refer to the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of side effects.

Aldara Warnings and drug interactions

You should always inform your doctor of any other medicines you are already taking before starting a new course of treatment for any condition. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

Always read the patient information leaflet to see if there are any specific drugs that can interact with Aldara.

Only ever order medicine online if it is from a registered pharmacy like Medicine Direct. When ordering with us, one of our certified doctors will review your symptoms and prescribe you the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

We offer next day delivery on all orders placed before 2pm.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It has not been proven one way or another as to whether Aldara is harmful to unborn babies. You should make sure your doctor is aware if you are currently pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.

If you become pregnant during the course of treatment, you should also inform your doctor.

Aldara cream is not recommended to be used by women who are currently breastfeeding. It is not known as to whether this medication can be passed onto your baby through your breast milk and potentially harm it.

Aldara Ingredients

Aldara cream contains the active ingredient imiquimod.

Other ingredients also contained are: isostearic acid, benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, white soft paraffin, polysorbate 60, sorbitan stearate, glycerol, methyl hydroxybenzoate (E 218), propyl hydroxybenzoate (E 216), xanthan gum, purified water.

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
Royal Mail UK Delivery Standard UK Tracked £2.99 3 - 4 Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Delivery - Tracked £5.95 Order by 2pm (subject to Dr approval) Next Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Tracked Morning Delivery by 12:00pm £12.95 Next Working Day Morning Delivery by 12:00pm
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Tracked Saturday Delivery £9.95

Delivery specified for Saturday

Order Friday by 2pm (subject to Dr approval)

Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

This page has recently been medically reviewed by Hussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Updated on: 04/06/2021

This content has been written by James Nuttall and has been medically reviewed by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh.

Superintendent pharmacist Hussain Abdeh at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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